This isn’t a post about a story. It’s not really an update to my plagiarism throwdown either.
But it’s something really important that affects all of us in the fan fiction community. When this whole thing went down with my work being stolen, I was totally adrift. Everyone had an opinion about my rights and what I was able to do or not do, and I can tell you right now that 95% of those people–though well-intentioned–were way off base.
It really frightened me that, as creators, none of us seemed to know how to protect ourselves, should someone come along, read our stories, like what they see, and simply take it, tweak, slap it between two covers and sell it for their own gain. Lots of people voiced that I’m not a real author since I’m “infringing” on the AB and CH copyrights. Several said that, sure, I wrote a story, but unless I registered it under US Copyright, it was fair game. Others said the internet was a public forum, and any thievery was to be expected and totally legal. And yet more said that I was technically right, but what could I really do about it?
Well, I can tell you know that thanks to the amazing team over at the Organization for Transformative Works, I now know that all of that is untrue. This is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping protect the works of people like us. We’re not lowly fans who foolishly offer our blood and sweat online for smarter authors to come along and repurpose it for their own stories. We have rights. Our work is our own and is not subject to the literary molestations of people with weaker imaginations. Without these folks, I would have floundered.
I’d like to announce that the OTW are currently running a fundraiser, in which they’re trying to raise $70,000. They deserve every penny. I’ll be putting in mine shortly.
Please repost and please donate! They’re just like us, except with law smarts.